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This Might Be the Dottiest Art You’ve Ever Seen

Yayoi Kusama’s dotty sculptural installation
Yayoi Kusama’s dotty sculptural installation | © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
Immerse yourself in the wonderfully crazy world of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at her sculptural installation With All My Love for the Tulips, I Pray Forever (2011), on view for the first time in Los Angeles at the Marciano Art Foundation.

Known for her immersive installations that have made her an Instagram hit among a younger audience, With All My Love for the Tulips, I Pray Forever is typical of Yayoi Kusama’s oeuvre, allowing you to enter and become part of the work.

Yayoi Kusama, With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever (2011), installation view at Marciano Art Foundation © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation

Within a white gallery covered in red polka dots of varying sizes, giant potted tulip sculptures seem to appear and disappear in the space. The sculptures are painted with the same red dots, diminishing the perception of depth.

Over 70,000 people enjoyed the work when it was first shown in the US at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery during its six-week run.

Yayoi Kusama's installation 'With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever' (2011), 2018 © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation

Yayoi Kusama – who now has a dedicated museum in Tokyo – has been obsessed with repetitive patterns since her early paintings of the 1950s. Dots in particular have been repeatedly incorporated in her work, from her paintings to her sculptures and installations.

In the 1960s, she staged polka-dot “happenings” in New York and created one of her first Infinity Rooms with small phallic sculptures covered in red dots. She’s also created installations in which exhibition visitors cover the space in dot stickers, while for her fashion collaboration with Louis Vuitton she transformed clothing and accessories with her trademark polka dot.

Detail of Kusama's sculptural installation of giant dotty tulips © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation

For Kusama, the dot represents a personal obsession with “cosmic infinity” and the sublime. The Japanese artist has said of the visceral power of the dot: “Our Earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment.”

Here’s what you can expect at the Marciano Art Foundation.

Detail of one of the tulip sculptures in Yayoi Kusama's installation at Marciano Art Foundation © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
A visitor entranced by Kusama's dotty installation © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
Detail of With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever (2011) © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
A giant tulip sculpture in Yayoi Kusama's installation 'With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever' (2011) © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
A tulip sculpture in Kusama's installation 'With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever' (2011) © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
The red dots in Kusama's sculptural installation cause quite an optical illusion © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation
One of the tulip sculptures in Yayoi Kusama's installation at Marciano Art Foundation © YAYOI KUSAMA. Charles White / JWPictures.com, Courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation

Yayoi Kusama: With All My Love for the Tulips, I Pray Forever is at Marciano Art Foundation, 4357 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010.

Want to see more art around the world? Take a look at Riga’s first biennial.